The Pollen of Flowers
Director: Ha Gil-jong
Cast: Namkoong Won, Choi ji-hee, Kim Ji-young, Yun So-ra
Film genre: Drama
85 mins, 1972
Ha Gil-jong’s unforgettable debut blends satire with melodrama, as a businessman brings a male lover into his personal life, with cataclysmic results.
In this, his first feature, Ha embraces subversion and provocation, as the fractious set-up between a corrupt businessman and his mistress is upended when he brings his male secretary and lover into their home. The name of the mistress’s mansion – the ‘Blue House’, also the name of the residence of the South Korean head of state – makes the political implications of Ha’s film clear, with sharp jabs at the Park Chung-hee regime. Regarded as the first Korean film to depict a same-sex relationship, it’s an unflinching satire with echoes of Pasolini’s Teorema (1968) and the films of Kim Ki-young. Yeo Woon-Kye’s performance as the creepy maid is particularly startling, and the tumultuous climax still shocks today.